ACEC presents awards at annual gala

LANSING—The American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan (ACEC/M) named Livonia-based OHM Advisors its Large Firm of the Year and FK Engineering Associates of Madison Heights its Small Firm of the Year at its annual Engineering & Surveying Excellence Awards Gala held March 7 in Grand Rapids.

The awards recognize excellence in both professional practice and community service.

OHM, winner of the category for firms with more than 30 employees, was founded in 1962 by John E. Hiltz and Melvin “Ernie” Orchard. The company has grown from 15 to more than 500 employees with offices in three states. President John Hiltz, a past President of ACEC Michigan, leads the firm and remains focused on “advancing communities.” Hiltz has been a state and national voice for greater investment in Michigan’s aging infrastructure.

FK Engineering (FKE) was launched in 2012 by professional engineer Fritz Klinger. Klingler has over 30 years of experience in civil engineering and underground construction. Vice presidents Joe Alberts and Zach Carr complete the leadership team and add more than 50 years of combined experience. Although a small firm, FKE has tackled big projects, including the Gordie Howe International Bridge, Little Caesars Arena, Detroit River Interceptor, and the Fraser emergency sinkhole repair. It also participates actively in ACEC/M programs, as well as  Pure Oakland Water events and suicide prevention fundraisers.

Other awards presented at the gala included:

  • Engineering Eminent Conceptor Award: Tetra Tech Inc. won for its I-696 Innovative Design Project in Macomb County. The I-696 Dequindre to Nieman project involved the design of eight miles of depressed interstate freeway including 8 urban interchanges including ramps. The project design consisted of concrete inlay construction including a recently developed specification for cement treated open graded drainage course (OGDC). Several innovative concepts were utilized, including a corridor-wide project PDF, contractual 3D line strings, and a PQS spreadsheet in lieu of quantity breakdown displays. Design was on an accelerated schedule and completed in less than four months.
  • Engineering Honorable Conceptor Awards went to the following: AECOM Technical Services Inc. of Chicago for a high-rate clarification plant in Columbiaville; Fishbeck of Grand Rapids for water treatment plant improvements in Ludington; Prein & Newhof of Grand Rapids for a water treatment pilot study for PFAS removal in Plainfield Charter Township; Ruby and Associates Inc. of Bingham Farms for a Mackinac Bridge paint platforms project in Mackinaw City; and Mannik & Smith Group Inc. of Canton Township for the Ford Flat Rock plant.
  • Engineering Merit Awards were presented to C2AE in Gaylord for the Four Mile Road Municipal Water and Wastewater project in Grayling; Gourdie-Fraser Inc. of Travesre City for the Eighth Street Reconstruction in Traverse City; Hubbell, Roth & Clark Inc. Of Bloomfield Hills for the trenchless technology project in Royal Oak; NTH Consultants Ltd. of Northville for the Auburn Treatment Plant pipeline rehabilitation in Pontiac; Parsons Transportation Group Inc. of Troy for the I-75 concrete inlay project in Detroit; SmithGroup of Detroit for the Biological Science Building at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; SmithGroup of Detroit for the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University in Detroit; Spicer Group Inc. of St. Johns for the Smith Consolidated Drain project in Okemos; Tyme Consulting Engineers Inc. of Livonia for the I-75 ITS fiber network backbone design for Wayne County; and Wade Trim of Taylor for the Wilson Road Extension project at Michigan State University in East Lansing

This year’s Surveying Eminent Conceptor Award went to Spicer Group Inc. of Saginaw for its MDOT Railway Scanning project. Spicer Group completed a network-wide data collection project for MDOT’s Office of Rail for approximately 665 miles of railroad corridor. Various data collection technologies were used including mobile terrestrial LiDAR and rail-view imagery, airborne LiDAR and ortho-imagery, UAV acquired ortho-imagery and traditional RTK GNSS surveying. Using advanced techniques, all data was fused together to create a network-wide geospatial dataset of all MDOT-owned railroad assets.

A Surveying Honorable Conceptor Award was presented to Fleis & VandenBrink Engineering, Inc. of Grand Rapids for its Taming the Wildcat Drain project in Three Rivers.

Surveying Merit Awards were presented to Nowak & Fraus Engineers of Pontiac for its Ford Field surveying and scanning in Detroit, and Spalding DeDecker of Rochester Hills for its Michigan Central Station Project in Detroit.

This year’s ACEC/M Vernon B. Spalding Leadership Award was presented to Jay Shah, PE, of Jay Shah Associates LLC to honor his outstanding leadership roles in ACEC and several community organizations. The ACEC/M Felix A. Anderson Image Award was presented to Larry Fleis, PE, of Fleis & VandenBrink Engineering Inc., for his actions and contributions to enhance the image of the profession.

The Eminent and Honorable Conceptor award winners are eligible to compete at the National ACEC engineering competition in Washington, D.C. For more information on the projects and award winners, please contact ACEC/M at 517.332.2066 or visit

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Michigan is the voice of Michigan’s engineering industry. Council members—numbering more than 100 firms throughout the state—are engaged in a wide range of engineering, architectural, and surveying works that propel the state’s economy, and enhance and safeguard Michigan’s quality of life. These works allow people to drink clean water, enjoy a healthy life, take advantage of new technologies, and travel safely and efficiently.

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